At Printed.com, we’re lucky enough to see hundreds of creative designs pass through our presses – and even luckier to be able to support a vibrant and growing community of creatives, business and brands. Community is key to creative success and we’re on a mission to connect as many people possible, to help them grow and thrive. That’s why, when we heard about In Colourful Company, a community of creatives – we just had to spread the word! We chatted to Toni Bee, the brains behind the colourful community, to get the lowdown on In Colourful Company.
Hi Toni! First of all, can you tell us what In Colourful Company is, in a nutshell?
Well I guess first above all things, we’re a community. We’re a community of people who want to live creative lives and are looking to find other people who want to do the same.
What made you start the community?
In Colourful Company almost started out of the blue, back in 2016 in the midst of my first year of being self-employed I realised I spent more time talking to people on the internet then I did talking to people face to face. I found myself feeling lonely, not that I didn’t have friends and family but I was lacking in finding my coven, my tribe of people.
I think when you’re an adult and you’ve left school and settled into a career it actually starts to become difficult to meet new people that you don’t want to date. So I decided to host a colour (photo/video) walk in Sheffield, to reach out and get to know likeminded others. I set up a Facebook event and left it open for people to join and spread the word. Under twenty people turned up that day but it was lovely and still one of my favourite walks to this day – it felt like we had somehow accidentally stumbled into something a little bit magical.
We spent the day walking around Sheffield (on a route I had pre-prepared) snapping photos in front of colourful walls and getting to know each other, and at the end we shared some food and then all went our separate ways.
Over the next few days I started to receive messages from people; asking when the next one would be, how they could get involved and how could they keep in contact. So I started a Facebook group. Initially I thought maybe at the very most between 50 – 100 people would join and it would be a great place for us to arrange other events, grow friendships and share some things we love. It turned out the In Colourful Company resonated with more people then I realised and I was far from the only person struggling to find their group of friends in life – their cheerleaders.
Almost two years on and we’ve hosted many more colour walks up and down the country and even a couple in the Netherlands. At our last colour walk we had just over seventy people turn up to and it doesn’t seem to be any rush to stop growing.
Who makes up In Colourful Company and who can join the community?
We have a mix of people, all ages, genders and backgrounds. We are a totally inclusive community, everyone is welcome, everyone can be a member, that’s one of the things I love most about us. Although the colour walks are fun and the things that make the best photos, they’re not the reason we’re here, we’re here to help as many people as possible feel less alone in this world.
Can you tell us a bit about your colour walks, how are they run?
So colour walks are super simple. I arrange for a couple of people local to the city we’ll be exploring to pre-plan a route for us before the walks, they will be our hosts for the day, they lead the way and take us to all the colourful spots.
On the day itself we meet at a local train station (a good starting place because they’re public, easy to find if you’re not local and generally how most people travel in) and from there we head out for around two to three hours to hunt colour.
We’ll stop lots along the way, take photos, throw some shapes for Boomerangs and create fun little videos, all while getting to know each other. We like to end each colour walk with a place to eat and this may actually be the most important time of the whole walk, 1. Because we’re all really hungry after our exciting day but 2. And most importantly because this is where friendships really start to build, it gives us a great opportunity to get know each other, to stop and just talk.
After food we all head our separate ways with full bellies, full camera rolls and hopefully some new happy memories.
Loads of our customers are creatives, independent designers and freelancers – how can In Colourful Company help them grow and thrive?
Well, as I said previously, In Colourful Company is all about community and being a freelance illustrator myself, who works from home, I cannot express enough how important it is to find your own community. You need to have people cheering you on, people who want you to do well without any expectations and yes we can get that from our family and friends but having that from a creative community who understands what you’re all about, who understands what it means to be putting yourself out there in this forever present online world, that makes the world of difference.
I feel inspired by our community every day and not only that, it also gives me one of the best sounding boards I’ve ever had. Even if it’s not In Colourful Company you decide to join in with, I 100% recommend you finding a community, whatever it is because it really is a huge source happiness that I feel like everyone should experience.
You have some great testimonials on your site, but can you tell us in your own words what makes In Colourful Company such a great community?
Oh gosh. I think for me what makes In Colourful Company so great is that it’s fighting back at a world that wants to make you feel alone, inadequate and underprepared. We are a give a go community! Yeah sometimes things don’t work but that’s ok because you’ve still got us cheering you on, believing in you every step of the way.
And finally, what does the future hold for In Colourful Company?
Hopefully more of the same! More new people, more colourful walks, more friendships, more cheerleaders, more opportunities to be inspired.